Horror Lives (No Matter What Vogue Tells You)

 

It would seem that every year something has to be declared dead. Last year, people were postulating that Minecraft was on its way out, yet game sales hit 122 million copies in the very first quarter.

The year before, Forbes was saying that rock was dead (I guess they forgot that shock rocker Marilyn Manson beat them to the punch 18 years earlier). Even one of our own brood, Mr. Zakary McGaha, claimed that horror was dead earlier this year (McGaha can be excused for his rash remarks for two reasons: 1) he is very young and 2) he is a massive horror fan).

If you’re going to declare something dead, you need to know what you’re talking about. There’s a reason you won’t find Silent Motorist Media declaring the end of, say, fashion in 2018. When the “clickbait” phenomenon infiltrates even “respected” publications, however, the first thing we can expect is an influx of sensationalist claims regarding every aspect of entertainment from people as far from qualified as Kanye is from being a professional plastic surgeon.

In a short but hardly sweet hatchet piece for none other than Vogue.com, Taylor Antrim—a writer whose name conjures an image of some silver spoon-sucking snot throwing a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his mid-morning flan—makes sweeping generalizations about the year that horror has been having.

Yeah, you know. The year that David Gordon Green’s Halloween sequel broke box office records and horror magazines returned to print. That year.

In this passive-aggressive hit piece, Antrim postures like he’s a horror fan, but he seizes every opportunity to invoke that word invented by the Oscar-baiting mainstream, “thriller.” This comes off less like a fan lamenting the loss of quality horror movies and more like someone pushing the idea of the genre being fungible.

In fact, most of his lament centers around claims that 2018’s horror movies aren’t really horror films, as if pushing boundaries and challenging audience expectations hasn’t been a major aspect of horror’s success throughout the past decade (even though he openly lauds Jordan Peele’s “masterpiece” Get Out to the point that he claims it “should have won that Oscar”). At the same time Antrim also criticizes Halloween for being a “retro slasher.”

So, either the new stuff ain’t horror, or it’s too traditional? Antrim is a profoundly difficult horror fan to please. Either that, or he’s simply more interested in making grand statements about the genre than making sense.

“Remember when horror was good?” he asks, as if he’s recalling a faint and distant memory. Paradoxically, he mentions movies like Hereditary, which prove that horror is still as vital and boundary-pushing as ever.

Clickbait-y horror site Bloody Disgusting was quick to fire back, writing, “Typical for pieces of this sort, the article has no clear point and builds up to nothing; mostly, it’s supported by the writer’s viewing of Winchester, The Nun and Slender Man, three not-so-great films that offer only a fraction of horror that was put on display this year.”

As we mentioned before, it’s not like this is the first time someone has suggested that horror is seeing its demise, but it’s definitely the first time that someone so grossly out-of-touch has dared to say it.

As our resident poet and fellow horror fanatic Josh Darling puts it, “How adorable it is that Vogue magazine has an opinion on horror. That’s like a mongoloid’s opinion of quantum physics—completely irrelevant. I can hear the mental stutter of ‘…but, but, but…Vogue is a well-written and important magazine.’

“Yes, okay, maybe, but that statement isn’t all that true. Vogue is a well-written fashion magazine. What Vogue has to say about horror is about as on point as what Fangoria has to say about fashion week in New York.”

Darling quickly adds that if horror were doing so poorly, magazines like Fangoria and Rue Morgue wouldn’t be returning to print after going digital. He also notes that Antrim isn’t exactly a known member of the horror community: “Mr. Antrim wrote a book that is a ‘fast-paced literary thriller,’ not a horror novel. He doesn’t have degree in film. He does have an MFA in writing, and the bulk of his work is lit fic, not horror or any of its sub-genres.”

Obviously, that didn’t stop Vogue’s Executive Editor from weighing in on the subject. Antrim says that television is where the action is, but even here he misses the boat, claiming that it has yet to yield anything really interesting.

Clearly, Antrim hasn’t watched the latest season of the SyFy creepypasta anthology, Channel Zero. And it’s particularly ironic when he rips on the Hulu horror antho Into the Dark, given how the first two installments have captured the “fun,” and “dark delight” that Antrim calls for in his article.

As if “fun” and “delight” are the essential qualities of horror in the first place. Antrim explicitly singles out Hereditary for lacking these elements. I suspect Antrim thinks art should be more like a Polaroid of a birthday party than a representation of despair, suffering, or any of those other inconveniently serious aspects of existence. For such a fan of horror, Antrim sure seems more than ready to nullify most of genre with his yardstick of “fun” and “delight.” To be sure, no one would accuse The Exorcist or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Devil’s Rejects of being fun, at least not in the traditional sense of the word.

As for horror on the small screen, you’d have to be one twisted fucker to say that The Monsters are Due on Maple Street or Five Characters in Search of an Exit were fun.

Of course, it shouldn’t come as a great shock that a Vogue editor would talk about TV when the subject is horror cinema. After all, ever since True Detective and Breaking Bad broke new ground, TV has been sooo in vogue. You can barely go a day without hearing about how long form storytelling is “where it’s at” or how television is experiencing a renaissance … whatever the fuck that means.

But what is surprising is just how desperate Antrim is to convince readers that he knows horror. When he writes “I really do see all these movies,” you want to pat him on the head and say, “sure you do, pal.”

That sense of begrudging pity for the man swiftly dissipates when he says, “…just living through 2018 has felt a bit like a horror film.”

As Randy from Scream would say, “fuck youuuuu!”

If Vogue pays for such hackneyed “observations,” we would all do well to bone up on the world of runway models and Versace gowns.

Antrim wraps up his disgraceful piece with the suggestion that people go to the horror genre for a semblance of control. What could be further from the truth? When I think back to the first time I saw Eli Roth’s Hostel in the movie theater, and how I damn near crushed my girlfriend’s hand during the ball gag-and-chainsaw sequence, I don’t remember any sense of control.

Instead, I remember feeling like a gasket that was about to blow. And when that ball gag finally came out and Magnum PI started nipping at his would-be executioner’s fingertips, I remember feeling a brief sense of relief, followed in quick succession by another wave of tension.

While the environment in which we experience horror does remain controlled, we watch horror in order to dissolve the divide between the plastic world of art and the horror of existence to the greatest extent possible. The semblance of control is exactly what we want to lose.

This is the point of horror: to take us to dark and dangerous landscapes where we feel as cornered as the characters, where we can vicariously experience the brutality and madness they undergo. It’s a cinematic dance with Thanatos, an artistic experience of our inherent death impulse, like doing poppers with Dionysus on the edge of a very tall building when the moon is hiding behind the clouds.

Antrim ends his piece by saying, “Here’s to the golden age of horror returning in 2019,” a sentence that’s essentially an oxymoron. As our own Josh Darling points out, “many horror fans will tell you the Golden Age of horror happened already. It started in the 70s and ended in the late 80s.”

Others would point to the Hammer horror films of the mid-fifties as the golden age, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of horror titles released direct-to-DVD every year, and not all of them are garbage.

More and more, we see limited run or direct-to-streaming horror that surpasses its theatrical counterparts in almost every way. This year’s Tales from the Hood 2 stands out as a straight-to-video flick that is largely superior to its predecessor, both in terms of special effects and storytelling.

Other 2018 horror entries that have kicked major ass include Mandy, The Strangers: Prey at Night, Unsane, Annihilation, Upgrade, The House That Jack Built, Incident in a Ghostland and Overlord.

And that’s just to name the most prominent examples of good horror that did great this year. There are plenty of awesome low-budget horror movies being turned out every single day. Shit, even YouTubers are getting in on the action and at least one horror fan successfully crowdfunding the unofficial Friday the 13th sequel that we’ve all been waiting for (whether we knew it or not).

We watch these movies and we enjoy the hell outta them. Not because they’re all great, but because they all explore something that no other genre is able to tap into.

Kurt Vonnegut once said, “the most exquisite pleasure in the practice of medicine comes from nudging a layman in the direction of terror, then bringing him back to safety again.” And that does a pretty damn good job of explaining the practice of all great horror auteurs.

They do not seek to offer viewers control. They’d rather pull a Hitchcock and play the audience like a piano. And we love them for it. Here’s to being out of control.

Bob Freville, Justin A. Burnett

Your Happy Life: Day Six

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Day One

Day Two

Day Three

Day Four

Day Five

If you are happy, you must be without children. I speak the truth; remember your scorn when the unhappy clamor in protest, “children are happiness; children are innocence,” the time-worn, miserable cry. The only innocence is their own; they are fools blinded by the cold downpour shrouding their lives. Children. Innocence. Words like these are worthy only of derision.

Happy human, don’t allow your gaze to become hypnotized by their sweet faces. Their bulging cheeks are mere wads of gelatin storing nourishment for the growth of their parasitic bodies. Their doe-like eyes are disproportionate half-stages, testimonies to incomplete transformations and nothing else. Peel away these soft textures with the edge of a blade, and beneath you’ll find an interior indistinguishable from Hitler’s.

They scream and cling in a paroxysm of need to the skirts of the miserable. And the miserable, children themselves, mistake this for love! The “love” of children is a feline love: a celebration of brutal self-preservation without a glimpse at the cost. And the cost, to be sure, is everything.

Yes, everything, including happiness. Happy one, beware the cruelty of children! They will seize you with clawed fingers and strip you of your health, possessions, and contentment without so much as an apology. When they have done this, they will leave you naked and bleeding in the sand, whistling a cheery tune as they disappear over the ledge and into their own misery. As you lie mourning their heartless departure, they will exaggerate your failures and advertise your shortcomings to their friends and new families; they will laugh at your humiliations and thrive on the consolation that their own misery is your fault, oh unhappy one—it will always be your fault. In a terrible finale, they will swarm your deathbed and clamor for your possessions like bidders at an auction. Thus you will end: a mere feast for beasts.

-C. M. Bartolomeo

5 Ways to Kick the Bucket Whilst Pulling Your Pud

By Bob Freville

Has “the stranger” become a bit too familiar to seem strange anymore? Do you require a level of advanced stimulation that no vibe or butt plug could ever provide? You are not alone, my perverted pal.

There’s a reason that the French refer to the human orgasm as “la petite mort.” At the end of the day, there is simply no lover more galvanizing than that Grecian bone smuggler, Thanatos. Think of this son of Darkness as a power bottom, only somehow he’s still the one on top.

Confused? You should be. Nobody escapes the greasy clutches of Death, especially not those who tempt him by wrapping a belt around their neck while they burp the worm.

If that hasn’t scared you off then you are probably one of those brave boys or girls who welcomes His gelid embrace with open arms…if not open palms. In which case, I say crack on! Here are some tips for you and your bits.

1. HIDE THE ZUCCHINI

If you’re looking to go out gagging, there’s no method more effective than utilizing nature’s finest as your sexual aid. Just ask the unemployed twenty-something who knocked on his neighbors’ door, seeking assistance after an afternoon bout of making the bald man cry resulted in a zucchini getting wedged in his throat.

According to the official report, “Removal of the trousers showed the penis to be semi-erect; around the base of the penis was a rubber band. On the lower abdomen and in the groin was dried, white coloured material, subsequently identified as semen…Internal examination showed a zucchini impacted in the larynx and oropharynx, totally occluding the airway…”

2. SHOCK TILL YOU DROP

Spark things up with a little electricity; if it’s good enough for that ole lady killer Egidius Schiffer, it should be good enough for you. Schiffer showed the world that his creativity extended far beyond murdering hitchhikers when he removed a cable from a table lamp and wrapped it around his nipples and dick.

[Note: If you survive the same, you’ve totally gotta start a phallus-obsessed punk band called Nipples & Dick.]

Schiffer then stuck the end of the cable into a power socket, thus creating world’s worst weenie roast. When the electrical current flowed through his chest, homeboy had a fatal heart attack. But hey, all great orgasms require great sacrifice and if you don’t believe me, just look at this!

3. IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCSEED, TRY & TRY AGAIN

Sometimes, rubbing one out won’t cut the mustard; some might even say rubbing six out isn’t sufficient. Any artist will tell you that it can take multiple tries before you create a work of genuine perfection.

Don’t be afraid to really get in there and rock out with your cock out till the clock stops ticking. This guy certainly wasn’t when he flogged the bishop until it quite literally fell off. For this brave young man, it took 62 consecutive tries to achieve an orgasm so incredible it blew his baguette clean off.

4. MAXIMUM SUCKAGE

If we’re being honest, we all know you suck, but you know what sucks even harder? A vacuum cleaner. That’s right, don’t be shy, let your freak flag fly. If a 57-year old man can do it, so can you.

If you’re anything like him, the vacuum cleaner won’t be enough, so be sure to take a page from his playbook and bring along a bottle of wine, some pantyhose, several jars of lubricant, a glass of urine and a wooden table leg. Remember, vacuum cleaners can suck, but it’s your prostate that’ll really makes you blow.

Some direct contact with your testis, a couple of knots in those pantyhose  and you’re off to see the Wizard.

5. GET THEE BAPTIZED FOR ALL ETERNITY

Not everyone’s satisfied to go out in so simple a fashion as death by household appliance. Some true warrior whackers insist on something far more complex. Consider the case of a 25-year old Canadian man who didn’t settle for the mere risk of drowning while jacking it but rather committed in the most overly complicated way possible.

This colorful cobra charmer met his end at the bottom of a river wearing what was politely described as “homemade diving apparatus.” That’s a euphemism for a hockey helmet, a two-piece snowmobile suit, beige ski boots and a bondage system “joining together the waist, knees, and ankles of the victim was observed with meshed metallic chains and straps and accessories usually used for horseback riding…

“…A section of electrical wire was also used at the knees. The whole bondage device was secured at the pubic region by a padlock, consequently maintaining the victim’s legs tightly joined together…

“Furthermore, a meshed metallic chain was attached to the hockey helmet and straps were also present at each wrist…Under his winter garments, the victim was wrapped in a transparent plastic jumpsuit covering him from head to toe…”

If you don’t consider that dedication, then your dong is in trouble.

Do you have a story about a time when you were pronounced clinically dead from playing Tiddlywinks with Mr. Winky? We’d love to hear it. Drop us a line in the comments below and get us off with how gut-wrenchingly gifted you are.

Like and share this post or we’ll tell your mother what you’ve been doing in the bathroom all night.

Posting That You Voted Makes People Pretend to Like You, Studies Say

By Jeff Goldwoolf

Silent Motorist’s social networking expert Jeff Goldwoolf is joining us to let you good people in on a tightly kept secret: posting about how you voted will make everyone pretend to like you!!!

No matter which side of the political aisle Google and Facebook algorithms tell you you’re on, proclaiming that you did, indeed, go back to high school (like a fucking loser) to cast your vote for people who actively want to enslave your mind will, with 100% surety, get social media peeps to pretend they like you and that they’ve always found your political opinions interesting.

College student Sam Porker told Silent Motorist reporters who snuck into his gated private college yesterday: “You know, I didn’t really have that many friends here. I mean, I’m friends with well over half the student body on social media, but no one has ever acknowledged any of the stuff I choose to share with the world.

That all changed when I posted a picture of myself holding my thumbs in the air with an ‘I Voted’ sticker on my breast pocket! I got over two-hundred likes and shares!”

His sympathies were echoed across the usually dull, lifeless campus: gigantic tents and banners about voting were set up everywhere, and speakers were blaring pop music left and right. Despite the loud music, we were able to ask many students the same questions, and they shared their sympathies with Sam Porker.

Outside social media, people are also feeling the togetherness of the elections.

Mrs. Simpletooth, chair of the Fuck Your Mama department, said, “I couldn’t even grade tests the music was so loud, and it was FANTASTIC! It’s good to take a break from the monotony of quizzes and lectures and just let loose and pretend that we’re all in this together. I mean, this is the last time I don’t have to unconditionally hate one half of the country and love the other. We’re all just practicing our democracy right now. No strings attached.”

Is the New SpongeBob News Great, Good or Effin Awful?

By Zakary McGaha

Reread the title of this article and think about it. Form your own opinion before you read mine.

Now, if you don’t know, the news recently broke that the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie will be a prequel. Upon first hearing this, I was pretty happy, but the more I thought about it, and the more I looked into everything that was disclosed, the more I found myself growing concerned.

First off, we know that the whole movie, or at least a big part of it, will be in CG. That’s not something I’m thrilled about since the show’s simple 2D animation is iconic. However, I have confidence that it can be pulled off and look cool. After all, we should want these movies to take the franchise to places it’s not previously been, and if this change in animation can get across a different Bikini Bottom that will give this movie its own identity, I’m fine with it.

Secondly, we know that it will involve SpongeBob meeting many of the show’s characters for the first time at some sort of summer camp. That’s an odd choice, in my opinion, but it can be made to work.

The fact is, we don’t have enough information about the new prequel to get worked up or excited about it. However, judging from the direction the franchise has been heading recently, I’d say apprehension is healthy.

It is my opinion that the best thing the series ever produced was the first movie: The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (the PS2 game for it was fucking awesome as well). Said film was meant to end the franchise and, thus, its plot was such that the show wouldn’t be able to continue on as usual. Things would have to be radically different…unless, of course, they just blatantly ignored the movie and followed the cash.

Ignore it they did. Multiple seasons aired and, all of a sudden, it was like the movie never happened. Plankton was still trying to get the formula. SpongeBob wasn’t the manager of the second Krusty Krab. Some people, including the original creator, speculated that the new seasons were supposed to take place before the movie, but I doubt that much thought went into it. Maybe someone has said this is DEFINITIVELY the case, but I don’t care, they should have followed things up accordingly.

A good number of the fans, including myself, stopped watching the new stuff, because everything kept getting annoying as hell. “Squidward torture porn” became a term people used to describe a good number of the new episodes.

The days of classics like “Graveyard Shift” and the Rock Bottom one were gone. To many of us, the only “real” SpongeBob franchise consisted of the first three seasons, the movie, and maybe a couple new episodes here or there. All the other stuff was just too different.

Then, in 2015, something unexpected happened: they made a new movie.

I remember being excited. Was it going to explain the timeline issue? Was it going to be an actual sequel to the first movie?

Nope! It was essentially a movie-length episode that would fit right in with the new seasons. It was a disaster…but not financially. It made a ton of money, so the likelihood of more movies was pretty high

And here we find ourselves in November of 2018, receiving news of the latest installment.

I predict that this movie will follow in the footsteps of the sequel rather than the O.G. movie. They’ll throw in weird, stupid humor to please the totally rad kids, and all semblance of a story (or a cannon for the franchise that makes sense) will be thrown out the window. You’re probably thinking, “Why are you expecting so much out of a kid’s show?” My answer: I’m not expecting that much, and it’s not just any kid’s show!

My generation holds SpongeBob dear because he was our hero. We don’t like seeing the show butchered beyond recognition in order to appease the new demographic which is apparently dumber than Patrick, collectively.

We understand that the franchise is mainstream, so it’s completely dominated by cash flows, but how was the show able to be so good in the past when it was still all about the money to the studio?

At this point, I’m pretty weary. More weary than Gary.